Editorial

Saradha scam virus

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/4/2019 12:30:32 PM IST

 It is unfortunate, that when a scam of the magnitude of the Saradha chit fund demanded a thorough and impartial probe, the process is now being dogged by political fist fight mainly between the BJP and the TMC while most of those accused are largely on bail. On February 3, when a posse of the CBI went to take custody of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, they were prevented from doing so by the Kolkata Police and instead bundled out and taken to the police station. Not long afterwards, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, predictably, turned it into a political issue against Modi and Shah. The CBI had alleged that when Rajeev Kumar had handed over the Saradha case, certain crucial documents were “missing”. However, Mamata Banerjee opportunistically changed it into a BJP versus opposition fight. The Saradha chit fund scheme was actually a cheating scheme where lakhs of poor from rural and urban areas were duped with lofty promises of unbelievable returns on their deposits. The principal accused, Sudipta Sen was the chairman and managing director of the Saradha Group which, through various ponzi schemes, duped lakhs of investors in West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Tripura and Odisha. Sudipta was arrested by West Bengal Police in April 2013 from Sonmarg in Kashmir after being on the run for some time. It was a clever move to pre-empt CBI from making him reveal names of all those involved. When the scam blew the lid in 2013, the then UPA government responded by instituting an inquiry. Next, the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to investigate the Saradha case in May 2014, while the UPA government was on its last legs. The Supreme Court in May 2014 handed over the multi-crore Saradha scam investigation to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The CBI then formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the chit fund scam where lakhs of investors in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam, Jharkhand and Tripura were allegedly duped to the tune of Rs10,000 crore besides examining the role of market regulators like Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The Trinamool Congress West Bengal government, all through the hearing of the matter, had strongly resisted the plea for handing over the investigation to the CBI. When the UPA took cognisance, the TMC quit the coalition under the specious plea of opposing direct investment and even joined its most bitter foe, the Left for the no confidence motion against the UPA. Many high profile politicians in West Bengal and Assam including top officials were reportedly linked with the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund schemes. The CBI may be doing its job but the timing of Kolkata episode comes at a time when the agency, rightly or wrongly, is being accused as a hound dog of the Modi government. It is true that scammers have escaped the dragnet of CBI, ED etc by joining the BJP and that alone has given ammunition for opposition parties to accuse the Modi government of weakening such institutions in order to exert control. In this regard, Mamata’s accusation that Modi wants to fix her and impose president’s rule in West Bengal before elections cannot be dismissed outright even if her dharna to save democracy is as specious. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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